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As a lifelong storyteller turned manned submersible pilot Erika Bergman is a passionate ocean explorer. She studied chemical oceanography at the University of Washington while working as a diesel engineer aboard the tall ship S/V Lady Washington and a steam ship engineer aboard the S/S Virginia V. Since then she has worked as a submersible pilot and engineer completing sub dives for exploration, research and filmmaking. Erika hopes to inspire enthusiasm for ocean awareness using these exciting inner space vehicles.

Crashing Into Ice: The Impact of Climate Change, on My Head

Ruby, Françoise, and I are barefoot and wearing t-shirts as we conduct sea bird surveys from the prow of the M/V Cape Race. Between shifts we close our eyes, the sun warms our faces and it feels downright tropical. Opening our eyes again, we are reminded of where we are. Looming in the distance are massive, glassy ice bergs, which we will soon be swimming by.

The View From Cuba: Photo Updates

Experience Erika’s travels through her latest photos, as she travels to Cuba to lead a cross-cultural ocean education program.

Crocodiles and Corals: Face-to-Face With Cuba’s Coral Reef

Giant yellow eyes stared me down, my own green eyes widened by our proximity. We watched each other blink.

2,100 Feet and Holding: Inside the Mind of a Submarine Pilot

There’s nothing between me and complete corporeal implosion but a 3 inch thick dome of plexiglass. What goes through the mind of a submarine pilot two thousand feet below the surface of the ocean? And better yet, what goes past the window?

Going Live in 3…2…1: A Google Hangout Inside a Manned Submersible

Sunlight reflects off pale blue walls and brightens the interior of the small space in which I am perched. A brightly colored umbrella rests above me to block the intense Caribbean sun from melting my little laptop. Under the open hatch, I begin an Internet broadcast from inside a submersible.

Classrooms Under the Sea: Descending into the Deep Reefs of Curaçao

One thousand feet below the surface of the ocean, below the reach of the sun’s warmth and light, deep water corals thrive. Standing tall in front of the black backdrop of their environment, colorful corals and deep sea organisms are part of my inspiration to bring deep sea exploration live to classrooms.

Classrooms Under the Sea: Manned Submersibles as Ocean Teaching Tools

A manned submersible expedition is underway using ‘Google+ Hangouts’ to bring exploration into the classroom.